Coho populations endangered in the Northern District?

Posted by Stephen Warta:  The Coho Salmon numbers are going down in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. The Sport-Fish community is being hit hard, and with the abolition of bait use for salmon, it will become much harder to limit out on Coho. In addition, most of the Kink Arm drainage are being closed. This drastic action against the Sport-Fish is taking place, but little or no action is being taken against the Commercial-Fisheries. This is the third year that the Little Susitna river has not made its goals and this year it will unlikely make it even half way to the low side of their escapement goal. If this trend keeps up, the Little Susitna Cohos could be placed on the “stock of concern” list.

Mat-Su Anglers Fishing Corner, by: Couch, A. N. (2011)

To bring you up to date: The final weir count for the Little Susitna Coho was 4826 (the low end of the escapement goal is 11,000). The ADF&G heads are looking at cutting Coho Sport-Fish opportunities next year to deal with the problem. So far there has been no talk of cutting the Commercial-Fisheries. Interestingly enough, in the current Fishery Management Guideline, Cohos are specifically referred to as a Sport-Fish priority fish. The significance of the Little Susitna not making its goals is that there are only two rivers that have goals that are counted relativity close to the Kink Arm. The Little Susitna is one of them, and the other is Jim Creek. Jim Creek hasn’t made its goals in 2 years. These two rivers gauge the the fish runs for the Matanuska and Kink Rivers – both of which are very big and are connected to hundreds of small streams.

Warta, S. N. (2011)

2 thoughts on “Coho populations endangered in the Northern District?”

  1. It is interesting to note that the escapement returns were about half of the expected returns. The suggestion to place more restricted limits on sport fishing is good, but I agree that some tighter restrictions should be placed on the commercial limits also.

  2. I am not saying that there should not be restrictions on the Sport-fish, but I do think that for the Coho fisheries we should see some Commercial-fish restrictions first (or at least at the same time). Note, it was not half the expected returns. The escapement goal is (if I remember this right) 11000-17000 so it didn’t make even half of the LOW end of the goals.

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